Welcome to Kingswood
The Kingswood development plan has ensured that departmental areas have been extensively modernized to create a lively and exciting environment. Most departments are colour-coded and this not only provides variety but also enables new students to find their way around quickly. The Sciences are extremely popular and successful at Kingswood and we place a high emphasis on practical work so there are three Chemistry laboratories, three Biology laboratories and two Physics laboratories plus a lecture/demonstration room. Some departments have extensive purpose-designed centres, including Art, Design Technology, Drama and Music, whilst English has its own student-run book shop.
Pre-Prep - Foundation Stage
The Pre-Prep Department encompasses the learning experiences and Education of the youngest children at Kingswood from the time they spend their first morning or afternoon sessions in the Nursery, during the term in which their third birthday occurs until the time they move to the Prep Department at seven. The first two years, Nursery and Reception, are known as the Foundation Stage, as these years form a positive and supportive introduction to Education which can be built on throughout their school career.
The partnership of home and school is nurtured from the first visit as parents (and often extended family) and teachers work together to encourage the children in developing their knowledge, skills and thinking processes. Children learn in many different ways. As they grow, they deepen their understanding through play, observing, planning, questioning, exploring, experimenting, reflecting and responding to adults and each other. The Early Years' curriculum uses a “stepping stone” approach in order to take account of individual experiences and developmental stages. There are six areas of learning each encompassing a set of Early Learning Goals:
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
learning growing independence, relationship skills and respect for others;
- Communication, Language and Literacy
developing speaking and listening skills and early reading and writing;
- Mathematical Development
learning about counting, classifying, shape, pattern, recognising and writing numbers;
- Physical Development
developing and co-ordinating skills through indoor and outdoor activities;
- Creative Development
exploring ideas through a variety of artistic and musical experiences;
- Knowledge and Understanding of the World
exploring the natural world, other people, places and cultures and introducing IT.
All these areas are interwoven and drawn together to provide learning opportunities through structured play opportunities so that all children can succeed, know that they are valued and experience the fun of learning.
Pre-Prep - Year 1 and Year 2
The Pre-prep is a lively department bustling with activity. Classrooms, role play areas and interactive displays, are designed to meet the children's developing needs, encouraging them to “have a go”, to learn through experience. Visits are arranged to illustrate topics and visiting authors, poets and visitors from other countries and cultures offer new perspectives. The outside environment, too, provides endless opportunities. The school's varied grounds – playgrounds, pergolas, woodland adventure area, field and shady trees offer a wonderful backdrop for outdoor activities.
The Early Learning Goals, which framed teaching and learning in Nursery and Reception, are planned to move imperceptibly towards more recognisable subject areas in Years 1 and 2. - English/Literacy, Maths/Numeracy are taught daily and Science, IT, History, Geography, RE, PSE (Personal and Social Education), Art, Design Technology, Music, PE, Games, Swimming and French (begun in Reception) are all included in the timetable but, throughout, the environment is designed to include experiential learning, vital at this stage of development. – The National Curriculum framework is interpreted and augmented through school Schemes of Work, planned progressively to incorporate all areas of children's learning.
Each child is welcomed as an individual. It is recognised that children learn at different rates and have different talents and interests. Generous staff-pupil ratios enable teachers and assistants to give time to the children. Experience and sensitivity to children’s needs enable them to judge when to consolidate learning and when to challenge and extend their thinking.
Kingswood is known as a “family school”. Pastoral care is at the centre of is ethos. In these early stages of Education, it is essential that children know that they are valued and respected and have a contribution to offer, a part to play in the school and the wider community, as they share in the fun of learning and discovery.
In these years the Form Teacher acts as the pupils' pastoral and academic tutor. The general framework of the National Curriculum continues, each form teacher specialising in one or more curriculum areas so that children are increasingly taught by specialists as they progress through the school. French, Music, Drama, Sport, Art and Design Technology are also taught by specialist teachers. Individual music, singing or instrumental lessons are offered as an optional extra-curricular activity. A programme of personal and social education runs throughout the school.
Timetabling ensures that whilst boys and girls are taught together for the majority of lessons, there are also opportunities for groups of boys or girls to be taught separately where that is considered beneficial. Pupils are encouraged to do their best by an incentive system of House points, which are given for good work, good behaviour, and general contribution to the school. Children are expected to do one half-hour of homework each evening. In Year 6 additional homework is set.
The first two years in the Prep classes for those aged seven to nine (Years 3 and 4) have their classrooms still based within the Pegasus building in the kitchen garden. The children aged nine to eleven (Years 5 and 6) have their classrooms and a range of other facilities within the beautiful Summerhill House. Boarding as well as day places become available from the age of seven or eight with the boarding house, High Vinnals, situated just to the north of the main school buildings in its own extensive grounds.
Over 40 extra-curricular activities are available to pupils each week. Frequent visits are made to places of historical and geographical interest to provide first-hand experience for field work studies. Residential visits to support environmental work are arranged for older children.